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The rare blizzard bury Spain in the snow

– An unusual and persistent blizzard, which the mayor of Madrid called “the worst storm in 80 years”, covered large parts of Spain with snow, froze traffic and left thousands trapped in cars or at stations and airports, which stopped all services like snow it continued to fall on Saturday. The capital and other parts of central Spain are activating a red weather signal for the first time, the highest, and are calling on the military to rescue people from vehicles closed to everything from small roads to the city̵

7;s main thoroughfares, according to the AP. The National Weather Agency AEMET has warned that some regions will receive more than 24 hours of continuous snowfall due to the strange combination of cold air masses stagnant over the Iberian Peninsula and the arrival of the warmer storm Philomena from the south. AEMET had said that up to 8 inches of snow could accumulate in large parts of the country, but the accumulation reached more than 19 inches, even in urban areas.

Carlos Novio, head of the emergency agency in Madrid, said more than 1,000 vehicles had been trapped. “The situation remains … high risk. This is a very complex phenomenon and a critical situation,” Novillo posted on social media on Saturday morning. “We ask all who remain trapped to be patient, we will reach you.” Airport operator AENA said Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas International Airport, the main entrance to and outside the country, will remain closed all day after machines and workers trying to protect the runways from snow remain closed. All trains to and from Madrid, as well as railways between the southern and northeastern parts of the country, have been stopped, railway operator Renfe said. The storm is expected to move northeast throughout Saturday, AEMET reported.

(Read more stories about Spain.)

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